The clutter around us is a reflection of the clutter inside of us. Maybe they don’t directly correlate, but there is a reason for every bit of clutter around your house, in your car, and on your desk. By clearing the clutter, you can simultaneously work through the reasons the junk made it there in the first place. Clear out your clutter and free your mind.
This post is part of a 14 part series on How to Be a Better Person. I’ve also super-duper fancied this group of posts up into an Amazon Kindle book. Check it out: Forget Perfect, Just Be Better: 101 Simple Ways to Grow in Relationships, at Work, in Life, and Through God.
1) Chunk the Junk
From the day home builders starting putting in big basements, attics, and roomy garages, people have been finding ways to collect more stuff. Huge piles of empty boxes, appliances that were only use once, and exercise machines that were never taken out of the box. They have become rooms that store the junk we don’t want to deal with.
It’s kind of like those beliefs that held you back when you were a child. There were monsters under your bed, so you couldn’t sleep or walk around at night, right? Every bit of clutter you have is a story waiting to be finished. Open stories are open loops in your mind – taking processing power away from doing what matters.
Get your resources back by chunking the junk pile in the garage, attic, and basement. No, you don’t actually need that stuff. No, you won’t get rich selling it on eBay®. No, you won’t need it in 5 years. No, your friends don’t care about Christmas cards from 13 years ago.
Close those old programs and reboot your machine, it’s time to start fresh.
2) Junk in the Trunk
But what about those mobile homes we live in 5 days a week? We eat, shave, put on makeup, text, check Facebook®, store trash, house books, hide papers and food scraps, and overall dump with all of the crumbs of life.
This is another one of those tell-tale life-junk areas. It’s even worse than your home. Your home gets more attention from other folks that live there and has a better chance of being in order. But your personal mobile castle, your car, well, that’s all you and only you. A scary representation of the way you live life.
Clean out all of the junk in your trunk. I’m talking about the car, people, the car. Organize what you can and get rid of the rest of it. Don’t worry about what other people think, but do think of what hints your life-evidence is saying to you.
What kind of story would a crime scene investigator tell about your life? Fix it.
3) High Visibility
You know those super humid mornings during the rainy season. The one where if you don’t have your car’s air conditioning system set just right, your windows fog over and make driving safely impossible. At that point, it’s best to just pull over and clean every window and try again later.
Sometimes we need to clean our mental windows, our inner ‘back-seat,’ and our foggy minds. But where the heck does one start in that process? Properly taking care of the small things we often consider “out of sight, out of mind” will make that statement true: the problems will be solved and truly out of mind.
Clean the back-seat of your car out. Maybe even consider vacuuming. Wipe the back window with window-cleaner. Look at how dirty that rag is when you’re done wiping. Did you know a rag could get so funky?
Layers of funk need a little attention – wipe on, wipe up, move on.
4) Gun the Bunnies
Your home is your castle. It keeps you warm, protects your privacy, and stores all of your goodies. Occasionally, you have to give it some tender love and care to get it ready for visitors or make safe path to the bathroom.
Can cleaning your home be such a chore that only folks that don’t live there give you the motivation to take action? I think this is usually because we care a bit too much about what they think instead of what’s ultimately good for us. You deserve cleanliness and orderliness no matter the company.
Why not treat yourself as well as you would your visitors? Clean under your bed, cabinets, and in the corners. Get your dust-bunny gun ready – they don’t like to be found.
You deserve higher standards. Keep your castle intact.
5) Computing Dust
As the years go by, I think we are becoming more of a new type of technological creature. We use and rely on fancy machines to help answer and guide our actions. What once required a ruler, paper, pen, and a small miracle can now be done with laptops and smartphones in no time. Unless, of course, they don’t work properly.
In some ways, technology can become a great crutch. A treasured device that solves your problem in under a second can become a nightmare when it goes wonky. It isn’t until our tools of convenience go bad that we realize how much we rely on them.
Clean your computer and smartphones – the outside of them. Vacuum the dust and hairballs out of the vents and cracks. Wipe the keyboard, mouse, and screen with a cloth – not water. Keep those tools in top working order.
Technology moves fast and breaks faster. Maintain your sanity and don’t take it for granted.
6) Naked No More
I grew up sharing everything from shoes, to pants, to hole-filled socks with my two brothers. We weren’t the richest bunch in the neighborhood and had to cut some corners. But you know what made it feel better? Getting that new (to us) hand-me-down because we had something to call our own. Plus, it felt nice to share the stuff I didn’t need anymore those dorky dudes.
A sense of ownership is one of the base human needs. Similarly, the sense of worth and value gained by being able to help others out hits some of the highest-level human needs. It isn’t until you have the lower-level need filled that you can finally start focusing on the higher-level stuff.
Go through and donate clothes you no longer need. Do the higher-level thing and clothe the naked.
Help those in need to help themselves, one level at a time.
7) Clear a Path
I love my family to no end and though it doesn’t happen enough, I enjoy traveling to see them in their far off places. The older and wiser folks in the family tree aren’t as spry as they used to be and could use an extra hand sometimes. I’m a big supporter of the “take care of your own” mindset and it makes for an even more fulfilling trip.
It’s easy to feel forgotten when we’re not hitting our internal motivators on a consistent basis. The mature generation really does matter a great deal and has so much to contribute to your life and the entire world.
Plan your next trip to the least-visited grandparents. Make it a big deal and have a good time. Offer, and follow through, with doing at least 3 big chores that need to get done and have the biggest impact on their lives.
A maturing love is a fine candidate for extra giving. Own up and give back.
8) A Book is a Terrible Thing to Waste
I just don’t know what I’d do without books. I don’t care if they’re paper, digital, broken, long, short, whatever – as long as they have at least one little nugget of awesome inside. I know it’s there and I will find it. And then it’s time to share it with the world.
It’s been said that the biggest difference between a successful person and a failure is the people they’ve met and the books they’ve read. Read, read, and read some more. Then it’s time to put that learning to good use for yourself and for others.
Finish up that self-help book, that gripping novel, and that biography. It’s time to sift through and donate books you are done with. Goodwill needs them now.
Be the knowledge then share the gift.
8 Ways to Become a Better Person by Cleaning Chaos:
- Chunk the Junk
- Junk in the Trunk
- High Visibility
- Gun the Bunnies
- Computing Dust
- Naked No More
- Clear a Path
- A Book is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Get out your aprons and start going to town on the messes that’ve been sitting around. It’s time to get clean and get going already!
Want to get the whole series in a convenient ebook?
Check it out: Forget Perfect, Just Be Better: 101 Simple Ways to Grow in Relationships, at Work, in Life, and Through God